« An unexpected paperweight | Main | Why I hate flying »

Panties wadded

Oh dear, another day, another panjandrum of the culturati circles the wagons against those dastardly bloggers. Not that I disagree with everything in Schickel's article; I also believe that good writing is an elitist enterprise that is the opposite of "democratic." But I suggest that his opprobrium against "bloggers" messing about in the sacred field of criticism is a bit of a ruse.

I think that what Shickel fears is not so much that an army of "cultists" with badly-written screeds about the virtues of Phillip K. Dick will be considered to be "critics" just as good as he (or the illustrious names he cites) is, though writers do hate it when lesser talents get attention and worse, make money. But I don't even think that he fears real competition from some talented unknown who can write as well if not better than he can. What this column actually is is a letter to his editors, and the people who own the newspapers that publish his syndicated column. His citing of people like Sainte-Beuve (yes I have heard of him) and Edmund Wilson are meant to remind the media mavens that they had better not follow the latest fashion and drop him in favor of some gaggle of nobodies that they won't have to pay as much for (or even better yet, get for free); or even worse, decide that since he can put pen to paper (so to speak) he'll be willing to do anything for money, such as, say, turning his talents to writing articles on vitamins for the food section or something.

He can see the way the wind is blowing in the media, and he doesn't like it, and I can't say that I blame him.

(Via Lileks, and here's more commentary on Libertas.)

Comments (2)

aelfheld [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Schickel's warnings and complaints would carry more weight if his reviews were worth the paper they're printed on. He's a semi-competent hack worried that his is one of those jobs Americans won't do (though in his case, can't might be more accurate).

Yes, criticism is, and should be, more than the retailing of ones personal likes and dislikes - the pity is that Schickel has rarely risen above his own parochialism.

Yeah, from what I recall (I haven't read him in years, I don't think) his criticism rarely rose above the middlebrow.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 22, 2007 6:26 AM.

The previous post in this blog was An unexpected paperweight.

The next post in this blog is Why I hate flying.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33